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Sept 20, 2021 Biking News

City Survey on Holly St/101 Bike Ped Bridge ~ San Carlos Sheriff’s to Present on Traffic Calming Options at Next TCC Meeting ~ El Camino Real ‘Grand Boulevard’ Strategy Meeting Coming Up ~ Sequoia High Parent Petition to Improve Brewster @ Elwood in RWC ~ San Carlos Residents Concerned abt Cedar @ Eaton Safety, & more…


1) Today, 9/20 is the deadline to fill out the City of San Carlos’ Survey to Support the Bike/Ped Bridge over 101. If you haven’t filled it out (it’s short!), please do so, link here: Community Feedback Survey. This is the Letter of Support from San Carlos Bikes (thanks Gerd Stieler for your help writing it!). Also, here are two additional fact sheets from city staff:

2) Tomorrow, Tues, 9/21, 7pm Monthly San Carlos Transportation Commission Meeting. Agenda includes:

  • The TCC asked staff to help it better understand the emergency response parameters in San Carlos and the impact on the community, so:

    1. Police Captain Kristina Bell and Deputy Fire Chief Dave Pucci will attend the September 21, 2021 meeting to discuss their roles and address questions and concerns of the Commission.

    2. Staff will also present the Traffic Device Toolkit that is included in the Neighborhood Traffic Management Program (NTMP) and is part of the Citizens Academy sessions. The Toolkit includes various traffic improvements that have been used in San Carlos.

    3. Staff will also present a proposal from the Greater East San Carlos (GESC) residents to add traffic barriers on their streets.

  • 2022 Traffic Calming Projects: at Kenton and Prospect on San Carlos Ave

    1. Staff identified the existing crossings at San Carlos Avenue and Kenton Avenue and San Carlos Avenue and Prospect Street for the 2022 Traffic Calming Improvements Project (“Project”). These existing crossings need improving, would continue to promote alternate modes of travel, and provide connectivity along the San Carlos Avenue corridor. The Level 1 improvements that are being considered include the installation of rectangular rapid-flashing beacons, construction of new or reconstruction of existing curb ramps for ADA compliance, high-visibility crosswalk markings, traffic striping, pavement markings, and signage. Staff brought conceptual layouts of improvements to the Transportation & Circulation Commission (“Commission”) in February 2021 for comments and feedback. Staff retained Bellecci & Associates, Inc. (“Bellecci”) to prepare the project plans and specifications. Bellecci has submitted the 35% level construction documents based on comments from Commission, surveyed site conditions, and future bicycle and pedestrian improvements along the San Carlos Avenue corridor. Staff is seeking Commission feedback before proceeding to the next design.

    2. Curb extensions (NO!!!), ramps, cut-outs, etc planned for Melendy Staff is bringing the proposed curb ramp layouts to the Commission for their consideration and feedback. These proposed curb ramp layouts include curb extensions and/or re-alignments to improve pedestrian visibility and avoid utility conflicts.

Note: What’s a low-cost, both bike and pedestrian-friendly alternative to the very UN-bike-friendly concrete curb extensions (‘bulb-outs’) popping up everywhere? Below is an example at Cupertino High School where they made a perfectly effective pedestrian and bike-friendly curb extension that shortened crossing distance for pedestrians without sacrificing the path that bicyclists travel, required little effort, is simple to change as needed, and they saved themselves MANY THOUSANDS of dollars in the process. Want to make the bollards look more attractive? Perhaps use bollards that can be painted. They could be painted to look like pencils. Or crayons. Or pretzel sticks. Or baseball bats. Hold a contest and let people come up with design ideas. Think how many intersections we could improve if we learned from Cupertino’s example and stopped pouring so much concrete into our streets in the name of short-sighted ‘pedestrian safety projects’ that sacrifice bicyclist safety.

3) “The El Camino Real ‘Grand Boulevard’ Initiative” -- What are the Next Steps?” Meeting is Tues, 9/22, 12-1pm with Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition. Learn about past SVBC campaigns (first 30 min), Brainstorming next steps (last 30 min).

--If possible, listen to the recording of different cities along ECR presenting on what they are working on and what their next steps are. If you are interested in helping this initiative, please join the ECR google group created to bring all ECR bike advocates in one place.

4) Sequoia High School Parent petition to RWC to address unsafe intersection at Brewster @ Elwood. Sign here: Brewster/Elwood Petition Her son, thankfully not seriously harmed, was struck by a vehicle a few weeks ago here. Another Sequoia parent shared this video of a near miss: Brewster @ Elwood Video. The petition asks for a 4-way stop, which this intersection in the past hasn’t qualified for -- see this email exchange with RWC transportation engineers for why. Perhaps a Pedestrian-activated stoplight would be more appropriate here? Share your thoughts in the petition and/or in a public conversation on Nextdoor here. Meanwhile, WHILE waiting for a more comprehensive solution, I’m suggesting RWC can immediately:

  • Put crosswalk paddles in both crosswalks reminding drivers to yield, and

  • Paint a green “bike ladder” next to either side of both crosswalks, as Belmont has done in many places. This image is of green bike ladders being added to the crosswalk at the intersection at 6th and Emmett.

  • And finally, remind all student bicyclists that when cross traffic doesn’t have a stop sign, the easiest and quickest way to get right-of-way to cross is simply to hop off the bike and cross as a pedestrian. While one bicyclist stops traffic by crossing as a pedestrian, the others waiting on their bikes can take advantage of the opportunity to cross while traffic is stopped. Drivers are trained, and legally only obligated to stop for pedestrians, not bicyclists, in crosswalks. Even when no crosswalk is marked, pedestrians always have the right-of-way in any intersection, but not bicyclists. Remind students to just MAKE SURE the cars are actually stopping before they proceed and never walk in front of a moving car. Use eye contact to make sure the drivers see them. It can help to push their bike out in front of one when preparing to cross to help drivers wake up and realize they have to stop. Assume every driver is distracted and has to have their attention caught.

5) Central/Arroyo Parent Initiative to address unsafe Cedar @ Eaton Intersection. This intersection is a route-to-school for White Oaks Elementary, Arroyo Upper Elementary, Central Middle School, and Sequoia High students. With a blind curve and too many speeding cars along Eaton, this intersection needs a safer way for students on bikes or on foot to cross Eaton.

6) Arroyo Parent Initiative to request unsafe rubber curbs at Arroyo Ave @ Cedar St be removed, as well as confusing signage that implies bicyclists have to stop/dismount to cross, instead of it being optional.

7) Urgent, time-sensitive Message from Menlo Park safe biking advocate, Lydia Lee:

  • “Do you live or bike in Menlo Park's Belle Haven neighborhood? If so, your input is urgently needed for a Menlo Park City Council meeting this coming Tuesday (Sept. 21, 7pm). They will be voting on the Belle Haven traffic calming plan. There are many good aspects to the plan, but staff is recommending permanent concrete bulbouts along 5 intersections of Newbridge Ave. Unfortunately, this addition would effectively ruin Newbridge as a bicycle route—and it is an important route for Belle Haven and East Palo Alto.

  • The bulbouts would force bicyclists to mix with car traffic at every intersection, instead of allowing them to stay in striped-off-shoulder, which looks and functions as a bike lane. There is no street parking there. The design clearly encourages weaving in and out of car traffic.

  • The bulbouts are intended to make the road safer for pedestrians, but there has been no data collected about pedestrian crossings on Newbridge. And according to the staff report (see page 7 in the report's "Final Recommendations"), speed levels are fine on Newbridge and speed bumps are not warranted. (Note that the intersections do have crosswalks and stop signs.) So the plan would unnecessarily compromise bicycle safety.

    1. If the complete plan goes through on Tuesday, the community and everyone who bikes that route now, and potential future bicyclists, is going to have to live with these bulbouts for decades. So now is the time to speak up! You can help by:

      1. 1. Writing to about your concerns or experience biking on Newbridge. The city outreach about the plan did not get a lot of responses, so we need more voices!

      2. Making a public comment at the Tuesday City Council meeting, especially if you have personal experience with this route and/or living in the neighborhood. (Those who speak in person can make the key difference in these situations.)

      3. Doing both if possible! And please let others know that now is the critical time to speak up.

  • Happy to answer any questions: I am a member of the city's Complete Streets Commission and we discussed this plan for two hours. I also welcome you to look at the whole plan, which has a lot of elements, to see if you have any feedback. --Lydia Lee, Bike Menlo Park, 415-218-8475.

Note: This is my (Sonia’s) letter to Menlo Park City Council: Letter to Menlo Park City Council

Thanks for reading/riding! Sonia Elkes,

Founder, San Carlos Bikes

(415) 806-4632

PS: Want to get bike-related news more promptly? To see more bike- and San Carlos transportation-related updates sooner:

Want a general Guide to Biking in San Carlos? See this article: Guide to Biking In San Carlos (San Carlos Living magazine, April 2021)


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